Malcolm Gladwell Really Wants To Race LeBron James In A Mile

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Wednesday August 23rd, 2017

Malcolm Gladwell really, really wants to race LeBron James in a mile and is willing to help raise money for a charity to make it happen.

"I'm dead serious." Gladwell tweeted. "One mile. Anywhere. Anytime. Me vs Lebron. All proceeds to charity."

So here's how this all started. On Tuesday, James posted this absurdly impressive workout video of him flying across the court.

Running twitter started debating whether LeBron James could beat Usain Bolt in the mile. My good friend, Ryan Sterner, blogged about how fast he hypothesized James would be able to run a mile. (Full disclosure: I co-founded CITIUS and host a podcast for that site.) He started off with a 4:40 estimate but in his line of thinking eventually concluded that 4:20 may be possible. No science taken into account just his thoughts.

It's a game that runners like to play. Take any professional athlete and then think about how fast they can run a mile.

Gladwell ran in high school and loves track and field. He's broken five minutes for the mile as recently as 2013 at the 5th Avenue Mile. He started off by asking for a 5K but eventually the mile became the proposed distance.

There's actually people on Twitter saying that they would willingly chip in money to make this happen. Sports Illustrated's Twitter account hosted a poll and after 19,532 votes, 52% of people believe Gladwell would defeat James in a one-mile race.

I texted The Crossover's Andrew Sharp for his thoughts on the LeBron Mile. He thinks that James is still probably one of the top five fastest people in the NBA at 34 years old. I believe it. Even as the Warriors were beating the Cavaliers in the Finals, he was still going.

Take a second to think that there are hundreds of high school kids who break five minutes for the mile. There's plenty of high school soccer or basketball players that can hop on a track and run about 4:50 for the mile without any sort of endurance training. A very good high school runner can run 4:20 or faster and is a very average athlete by general metrics. James is arguably one of the best athletes in the world and so 4:40 should be no problem.

Brian Scalabrine recently told The Crossover that he once ran 4:45 for the mile as a sophomore in college. There is no doubt that James is currently a better and faster athlete than a college sophomore version of Scalabrine.

All we want to know is how fast can LeBron James run a mile.

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